Intimidation, hornes/polled

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dun

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The story that horns are a greater deterent then hornless cows has alwasy been a mystery to me. Years ago we had an old polled goat in the dairy that had managed to kill several dogs.
Yesterday a couple of dogs came sniffing around the calving paddock. All but two of the cows gathered around the calves, two of the ladies started that fast covering a gound shuffle, not running, but moving along pretty fast. The dogs saw those ladies bearing down on them and took off like a rocket was under their tails. The cows stood in the corner and watched them for a quarter mile before they disapeared from sight. Could horned cows have done any better? I sure doubt it. It's the physical bulk and the deterination that will get the job done. Even without horns, I'm sure those cows would have pounded the dogs to pudding if they hadn't baled out as fast as the did.

dun
 
A

Anonymous

Yes, but when being pummeled by a horned cow, in addition to being hammered, crushed and smooshed you could also be skewered, carried about, and disemboweled. Not really sure if you'd notice the difference though.
 

CattleAnnie

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For what it's worth, I've been rolled by an over-zealous horned cow when processing her calf, and all I can tell you is thank God she didn't have horns 'cause she sure could've done a heck of a lot more damage (better to have bruises than puntured ribs).

We dehorn all new cows to the herd, not only because our community pasture rules require it, but also for our own personal safety at calving time. Our cows have to contend with wolves and the odd cougar as well as the black and grizzly bears out there, and we lose very few calves, so I guess they're still pretty handy at defending their calves from predators.

Have also noticed that when a cow only has a wee bit of a scur left, it will be polished up from use, as they're pretty handy at rooting their herd mates with it when jostling for position at the feeders and waterers.
Just my two cents. Take care.
 

Frankie

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dun":qktmgs70 said:
The story that horns are a greater deterent then hornless cows has alwasy been a mystery to me. Years ago we had an old polled goat in the dairy that had managed to kill several dogs.
Yesterday a couple of dogs came sniffing around the calving paddock. All but two of the cows gathered around the calves, two of the ladies started that fast covering a gound shuffle, not running, but moving along pretty fast. The dogs saw those ladies bearing down on them and took off like a rocket was under their tails. The cows stood in the corner and watched them for a quarter mile before they disapeared from sight. Could horned cows have done any better? I sure doubt it. It's the physical bulk and the deterination that will get the job done. Even without horns, I'm sure those cows would have pounded the dogs to pudding if they hadn't baled out as fast as the did.
dun

I agree with you completely, Dun. Horns may be an added asset to a cow, but they are very effective with just their feet and a polled head. I've seen weaned heifers chase coyotes out of the pasture. Coyotes are about the only predators we have here and they are opportunistic hunters. They'll eat a lot of rats and mice before they go after a calf in a herd. Now a sick calf that can't stay with the herd is more at risk, but horns don't have anything to do with that either.
 

Scotty

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I agree with you also Dun. Well as far as animals. Cows with horns to me are worse to deal with. I have started to dehorn all my animals after one cow cripled another over hay. This to me is another one that goes to personal preference. :D I had a cow that when she was still a heifer and low on the poll did not use her horns much. She grew up and got high on the poll did. Dehorning her fixed her wagon. If I may let me say this. If one is going to go to the trouble of dehorning, make sure it is done right. No telling how many times I have seen regrows.
 

Craig-TX

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I’m on the same page with you all. They are certainly handy for fighting predators, but they’re not necessary. The main reason cattle have horns is to fight other cattle. No good reason for them, unless you’re in the horn market.

Craig-TX
 

A. delaGarza

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Craig-TX":1x5nv26o said:
I’m on the same page with you all. They are certainly handy for fighting predators, but they’re not necessary. The main reason cattle have horns is to fight other cattle. No good reason for them, unless you’re in the horn market.
Craig-TX

not only that, horns help cattle to move into the brushes
 

Jake

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I would like to say that horns aren't allowed on our place, but there are a few cows that need to visit doc. It's amazing how their attitudes change when they lose the horns.
 

Cattle Rack Rancher

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I run a few highland cattle specifically to keep the coyotes away. I had a coyote come up to the yard last spring and I watched one of the old cows. She put her head down and just the sight of those horns sent the coyote into retreat mode.
 

jt

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Jake":h91ak1ju said:
I would like to say that horns aren't allowed on our place, but there are a few cows that need to visit doc. It's amazing how their attitudes change when they lose the horns.

i disklike horns on my cows too, and the funny part is watching them at the trough right after they have been cut off. just a swatting at the others, but nothing to swat with.

jt
 

Roy E. Mosley Jr.

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Jt what is a good age to de horn at I have a holstien steer that is about 6-7 months old that is starting to get a little pushy and will he bleed. If he does what should I do. I'm asking you because I know that you have plenty ex.
 

jt

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Roy E. Mosley Jr.":24rdk879 said:
Jt what is a good age to de horn at I have a holstien steer that is about 6-7 months old that is starting to get a little pushy and will he bleed. If he does what should I do. I'm asking you because I know that you have plenty ex.

actually i do not have as much experience with dehorning as you might think. i try to stay away from buying cows with horns, but the few i have dehorned, sometimes were fun to watch as they tried to use the horn that they dont have anymore.

i dont know all the do's and dont's, but i will tell you how i go about it.

imo, he has passed the best age, but it is not too late, and i would suggest that if you decide to dehorn him, get it done before it gets hot. the best age to dehorn calves is by 4 months, but i will wait longer if it is hot.

on small calves, you can use a scoop and scoop them right out, just dont scoop too deep. calves have been known to bleed to death from a scoop that went too deep. if done right, usually they wont bleed much.

if the horns are bigger, i usually just cut them off with a hacksaw or something. and yes they will bleed, sometimes a lot. if that is a problem, i will usually cauterize sp?? with something hot and so far all of mine have done ok. if i have problems or worried about them, i will keep an eye on them for a few days.

maybe some others will shed more light on this if something i am doing is not quite like it needs to be.

another thought, if you are not comfortable with what to do, ask someone around you that has been in the cattle business awhile, and get them maybe come do it for you. that is how i learned, and it helped me.

good luck

jt
 

txag

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jt":3cfqxfg2 said:
Roy E. Mosley Jr.":3cfqxfg2 said:
imo, he has passed the best age, but it is not too late, and i would suggest that if you decide to dehorn him, get it done before it gets hot. the best age to dehorn calves is by 4 months, but i will wait longer if it is hot.

on small calves, you can use a scoop and scoop them right out, just dont scoop too deep. calves have been known to bleed to death from a scoop that went too deep. if done right, usually they wont bleed much.

jt

conception is the best time but you've passed that point. i agree w/4 months or less. if you scoop & burn a bigger calf, you also need to pull the bleeders. better yet, let a vet or someone who knows what they're doing dehorn him.
 

Cattle Rack Rancher

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I have a few horned calves every year and we usually cut them at about 5-6 months. This is after the fly season but you have to make sure it is not too cold as well. Neighbor up here did one in winter and it got an infection through the horn that ran back into the sinus cavity and killed it. If you are just doing a few, put them in the head gate throw a halter on them to hold them steady. We use a set of pruning shears like what you use for trimming shrubs or lopping shears for the bigger ones. They bleed a bit but as long as the blood isn't actually shooting out of the horn, they seem to do OK. If there is alot of blood, we usually tie a piece of binder twine underneath the horn stubs. wrap it around three times tight as you can and tie it. This cuts cuts off the blood flow from the arteries which are located right under the horns. The calf will wear this twine off through head rubbing in about 4-6 weeks. Best of luck.
 

jcarkie

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the younger the better, i had a calf done at two months i took him to the vet, i saw one in front of me close to a year and it was pretty bad. i had my bull tipped and he bled a little. all of my cows are polled but one. polled is better but sometimes you can't pass on a good horned bull. nothing prettier than a herd of horned hereford cows with thier horns turned down.
 

Ellie May

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I LIKE COWS WITHOUT HORNS, you guys better forlorn. When it walks around with a stump, you guys better dump or you get bumped.
I dunno tried to ryme to an ol' song didn't work.
Ellie May


:lol:
 

Running Arrow Bill

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Here's my maverick 2 cents worth...lol:

If one doesn't like horned cattle, why not buy and/or breed polled cattle? Would save a lot of time, expense, de-horning problems.

If you want horns, go with the cattle that have "real" horns (that are not the tipped forward gut-sticking horns)--the "Texas Longhorn".

Finally, true, about any mama cow with a calf at side (horns or not) can be a real threat to a predator.

Last, but not least, with any cow (horned or not) if she "ain't got" a good attitude and isn't safe to be around with a calf at side then she should probably grow wheels.
 
A

Anonymous

We use a paste on calves when they are about a month old. Just long enough that the horn is growing, but it can't be too big or the paste will not work. It isn't real comfortable to the calves and you need to make sure that they can't rub it on another animal, but it is easy and there is no blood involved. If done on a calf older, say about two months old, it will just stunt the horns for a while.
If they get too big, we have a tool to cut the horn and then we burn and seal all of the blood vessels shut on the calf's head. Or we burn and they cut, depends on the age of calf. a headgate comes in very handy for these.
 

CattleAnnie

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It's a nasty job taking horns off an older animal, but I use dehorning wire ( I don't know what else you'd call it...it's the same stuff I lay under the casting material when I have to set a broken leg...comes in a white plastic container about the size of a hockey puck).
I also use the twine that CCR talks about, but I just kind of figure 8 it around the base of the horns (and thank God for squeeze chutes).
It's usually neccesary to run a rope aroung the cow's head to snub her up so she'll hold still, as the process must hurt like all hell (pardon the language).
Snip off a good 3 ft section of wire, and I like to wrap a chunk of rebar around the ends (makes it easier to hold).
Then you lay it up around the base of a horn (trying not to cut right into the skull).
You just start to pull first one end of the wire, then alternate. It can take a bit of work (and will smoke - really stinks!), but personally for an older animal I prefer it because the motion of the wire as it saws through the horn builds up a tremendous amount of friction, the heat of which will actually cauterize some of the affected blood vessels. It is nice to have a hot iron nearby though, in case you've got a real bleeder.
Definately not a job to tackle in your Sunday finest.
Would like to hear any more tips that the rest of you have found handy, as I inevitably end up with a couple of horned "prospect" cows every year.
Take care.
 

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